I am… Ben, a skateboard owning 36-year-old dad. I’m married to Claire and we have two amazing kids, Billy, who is nearly three, and Olivia who turns one in October. We live in London, UK.

I work as… I have been a civil servant man and boy – I started at what was the Inland Revenue when I was 19-years-old and have done a dozen or so jobs in a range of departments since then. And I am also the founder of Beyond the Stork, an online business selling cool, stylish but practical things for getting out and about on adventures. Products include some really cool British and Scandinavian waterproofs, bags, wellies and clothing.  

Do you worry about work-life balance? I’m lucky that my work is flexible, although when a family comes along, achieving work-life balance is always a challenge. Starting the business has been hard work but I make sure that I switch off at least one evening a week. Fingers crossed the business takes off and people visit the site and love the brands we have as much as we do because ultimately I’d love to run my own business full-time to give me greater flexibility over how, and when, I work.

I’m the kind of dad that… Probably hasn’t grown up himself, at least that’s what Claire would say. I love playing outdoors with the kids and building train sets with Billy. 

To make my children feel special… I give them as much of my time as possible, and I listen. If Billy wants to talk, I always try to give him my undivided attention and to answer his questions and engage with him. With Olivia it’s a bit more difficult because she is still young, but I try to give her a bit of time everyday, just the two of us, normally before bed, where we lie together, smile, laugh, play and finish with a little story.

Biggest learning curve since becoming a father… I remember when Billy arrived, the midwife asked if I wanted to put the first nappy on, I just looked blankly at her, so she offered to do the first one for me. I remember getting him home and just sitting down and feeling completely overwhelmed. All of a sudden you’re responsible for keeping this little person alive. So really, the biggest learning curve is all of it. The good news is that when number two comes along you’re a pro. Kind of? Maybe?

I love being a dad because… Watching these small people grow up and learn new things is amazing. The unconditional love is pretty great too. The highlight of my day is when Billy says “I love you Daddy”.

Being a dad has taught me… That patience is so important. No matter how busy life gets with work, Beyond the Stork and the kids, I need to make time to listen and just be with Claire and the kids. I’ve learned which battles to pick and when to just take a breath and let it go. I commute with Billy most days. Before I was like most London commuters – head down, quick pace, headphones on – but now I enjoy seeing the journey through Billy’s eyes, chatting to him and occasionally talking to people on the tube or train. How times have changed.

For more follow Ben at @dulwich_dad

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